Press releases

Premier League clubs’ gross player transfer expenditure falls as first pre-season deadline day closes

9 August 2018

  • Premier League clubs spent £1.2bn on the transfer-in of players in the first abbreviated summer transfer window that closed at 5pm on 9 August;
  • Summer player transfer expenditure falls after seven consecutive seasons of growth;
  • Net expenditure of £865m currently £180m higher than record of £685m in summer 2016;
  • Deadline day sees £110m spent by Premier League clubs, £100m less than the record of £210m in summer 2017;
  • Premier League clubs’ summer player transfer expenditure as a proportion of the clubs’ estimated 2018/19 revenue was 25% (summer 2017: 30%);
  • Championship clubs’ gross spend was around £155m, falling short of the summer 2016 record of £215m.

Premier League clubs spent £1.2bn on the transfer-in of players, in the first shortened summer transfer window, according to analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

Tim Bridge, Director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented, “Premier League clubs’ gross player transfer expenditure of £1.2 billion continues to demonstrate the sheer purchasing power of the most commercially successful football league in the world. With Premier League clubs’ aggregate revenues forecast to reach £5 billion in 2018/19, clubs can well-afford to significantly invest in on-pitch talent in the quest for both success and survival.”

Premier League clubs’ net player transfer expenditure to 9 August was £865m, well in excess of the £665m for the summer 2017 transfer window. Of the players transferred-in, just £175m (14%) relate to intra-Premier League transfers, a record low proportion across the history of the summer transfer window.

Bridge continued, “On balance, the earlier deadline for the transfer-in of players may have contributed towards a reduction in gross player transfer spending by the Premier League clubs. Unlike previous seasons, after 9 August, clubs cannot make late player acquisitions either reacting to their early season performances, or immediately utilising proceeds arising from any late player sales to overseas clubs.”

“Subject to any late sales, the Premier League and its clubs may benefit from having playing squads settled and in place for the start of the new season. Whilst the transfer window remains open for other European leagues, it will be interesting to see how any late offers from overseas clubs will be handled. It is too early to predict what the effect will be on activity over the remainder of the month, or in January’s transfer window.”

Additional findings from the analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group include:

  • Premier League clubs have committed to around £1.230 billion in respect of player transfer fees in the summer 2018 transfer window, a decrease from the previous record of £1.430 billion gross spend set summer 2017, and the first time the figure has fallen year-on-year since summer 2010;
  • The average gross player transfer expenditure for a Premier League club in the 2018 summer window was c.£61m (2017: c.£71m);
  • Premier League clubs concluded player transfers-in totalling c.£110m on transfer deadline day. The previous record, set summer 2017, was £210m;
  • The Premier League’s highest-spending clubs were Liverpool (£165m), Chelsea (£120m), Fulham (£105m) and Leicester City (£100m), representing around 40% of the aggregate gross player transfer expenditure by Premier League clubs. Only three clubs recorded net player transfer receipts (Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Watford) as at 9 August.
  • Premier League clubs spent a record £880m to transfer-in players from overseas clubs (summer 2017: £770m). This represented 72% of aggregate gross player transfer expenditure by Premier League clubs, compared to 54% in summer 2017 (and average of 60% for all summer transfer windows);
  • Premier League clubs’ summer 2018 net player transfer expenditure was a record £865m as at the close of this window (9 August 2018), an increase on the total net player transfer expenditure last summer of £665m (at the close of the transfer window on 31 August 2017). If Premier League clubs transfer-out any players over the remainder of August, then the net player transfer expenditure will reduce;
  • Across the other ‘big five’ top divisions of Europe, the next highest spending league is Serie A, with a reported gross spend of around £910m, followed by La Liga (£680m), the Bundesliga (£400m) and Ligue 1 (£350m), all of which are expected to increase by the time their respective transfer windows close later in the month*. 
  • Championship clubs spent £155m on player transfers-in during the summer 2018 transfer window, a decrease from the £195m spent in summer 2017;
  • Since the introduction of the player transfer window system in January 2003, aggregate gross player transfer spending has exceeded £11.9 billion, with around 82% of this being spent in summer transfer windows.


Notes to editors

*The Series A transfer window closes 17 August, while the Bundesliga, La Liga and Ligue 1 transfer windows close 31 August.

Basis of preparation
The information on player transfers is based on publicly available information in respect of player registration acquisitions by clubs, including from club websites, and, and further analysis carried out by the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. The information is based on reported transfers as at 17:00 on 9 August 2018. Further commentary about the transfer market is included in the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance. The figures contained in this release will not necessarily be the same as the cost of acquiring players’ registrations as recognised in the financial statements of each club. Under accounting requirements, the cost of acquiring a player’s registration includes the transfer fee payable (including any probable contingent amounts), plus other direct costs such as transfer fee levy and fees to agents.

About the Sports Business Group at Deloitte
Over the last 25 years Deloitte has developed a unique focus on the business of sport. Our specialist Sports Business Group offers a multi-disciplined expert service with dedicated people and skills capable of adding significant value to the business of sport. Whether it is benchmarking or strategic business reviews, operational turnarounds, revenue enhancement strategies or stadium/venue development plans, business planning, market and demand analysis, acquisitions, due diligence, expert witness, audits or tax planning; we have worked with more clubs, leagues, governing bodies, stadia developers, event organisers, commercial partners, financiers and investors than any other adviser.

Deloitte has conducted analysis of player transfer expenditure for every transfer window since 2003.

For further information on our services you can access our website at

About Deloitte
In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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